Collins Closing

Count me among those sorry to hear the news that Rockwell is closing its printed circuit board fabrication plant.

I’ve been through that plant and this is sad to see. I wrote a profile of the plant for PC FAB in 2000. At the time, then GM Mike Driscoll was overseeing a major implementation of Lean manufacturing, making the site one of the early adopters of the practice.

I’m of the opinion (minority, probably) that OEMs retaining in-house knowledge and expertise of manufacturing processes is a good thing, even if they can’t necessarily generate a direct profit from it.

That, plus I knew several people who worked in that shop over the years and every one of them is a class act.

There are still a few major OEMs with in-house fab capacity. Let’s hope they see fit to keep it.


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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association ( He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow